Steely skyscrapers, top chefs and rocking festivals – the 'windy city' will blow you away with its energy and all it has to offer.
The start of the famous 'Route 66' and home to some of the world's best food, awesome architecture and days of shopping, Chicago has something for everyone.
The city buzzes with energy and excitement, especially during the autumn season of weekend festivals, alongside beautiful parks and trails that beckon every day.
Flight prices are per adult in Australian Dollars, based on payment at qantas.com by BPAY made 7 days or more before departure, POLi or Qantas issued UATP. For other payment options a percentage based fee applies, capped at a maximum per passenger of $11 for Domestic or $70 for International travel. Prices are not guaranteed until payment is made. Fares may not be available on all flights or days. Some flights are operated by partner or subsidiary airlines.
The possibilities in this distinctive city are endless.
- Enjoy sweeping views of the city from the Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower or 360CHICAGO
- Wander through Millennium Park and relax under the stainless steel beams of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion
- Grab breakfast at Lou Mitchell’s, a city institution located near Union Station at the beginning of Route 66
- Visit the Art Institute of Chicago
- Grab a drink and sway to some jazz at Blue Chicago, which features different performers every night
- Don’t miss Hyde Park, home of President Barack Obama, and the Museum of Science and Industry, the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere.
Known as a 'city of neighbourhoods', Chicago has 77 diverse communities bursting with their own distinctive vibe, culture, attractions and cuisine.
The South Loop
Located just south of downtown, this neighbourhood has blossomed in recent years bringing fine dining, boutique shops and chic condo complexes to the area.
Just steps away from the vibrant streets of the South Loop is Museum Campus, which features the Adler Planetarium, The Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium. Its deep history can be seen in many local attractions, such as the 128 year old Glessner House Museum, anchor of the Prairie Avenue Historic District and the Clarke House Museum, Chicago’s oldest home built in 1836.
A popular destination, largely because of its close proximity to the lake and downtown.
Victorian-era buildings, brick alleyways and narrow tree lined streets are a charming backdrop to Wells Street, featuring family owned restaurants and unique shops and boutiques.
Lakeview and Boystown
Lakeview is one of Chicago’s largest neighbourhood communities and features dozens of busy streets with great shopping, dining and entertainment.
Groups can enjoy live music and theatre at numerous venues, catch an independent film at Music Box Theatre or get splattered with paint at Blue Man Group at the Briar Street Theatre.
The Lakeview East area is marked with rainbow flags, indicating the entrance to Boystown which is famous for its large LGBT population.
For great shopping head to Armitage Avenue and Halsted Avenue.
Chicago’s Chinatown is one of the largest in the USA and is home to dozens of traditional restaurants, grocery stores and shops.
The neighbourhood consists of the two areas of Wentworth Avenue and the two-level Chinatown Square. Imposing bronze gates frame the square making it hard to miss. There's also Ping Tom Memorial Park, a 12 acre oasis along the south branch of the Chicago River.
Known as one of the hubs of Mexican American culture in Chicago, Pilsen is a vibrant neighbourhood featuring innovative and classic Mexican restaurants, a number of galleries and unique shopping experiences.
It's also home to the highly regarded National Museum of Mexican Art.
This neighbourhood acts as a living monument to African American culture. It's been home to a number of famous people including legendary singer Louis Armstrong, civil rights activist Ida B. Wells and Pulitzer Prize recipient Gwendolyn Brooks.
Throughout the area are significant pieces of public art and architecture including The Victory Monument, The Monument to the Great Northern Migration and the IIT Campus.
Home of the esteemed University of Chicago, the popular Museum of Science and Industry and the DuSable Museum of African American History, Hyde Park is rich in culture, architecture and history. The past mixes with the present as students, scholars, and visitors mingle at local attractions like Robie House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, or the Hyde Park Art Centre, a powerful force in the city’s art scene for more than seven decades.
The party never seems to stop in this lively neighbourhood which gets its name from its main attraction of Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.
The stretch of Clark Street through Wrigleyville is packed with sports bars and restaurants. From the aptly named Cubby Bear to the arcade game filled Sluggers, there’s no shortage of options for groups eager to grab a bite or watch a game.
West Loop and Greektown
This area has transformed in recent years to become the place for culinary stars to set up shop, including Stephanie Izard (Girl and the Goat, and Little Goat), Graham Elliot (GEB) and Paul Kahan (avec, Blackbird, and Publican).
Just to the south is a string of Greek restaurants known as Greektown, serving as the centre of Greek culture for more than a century. The National Hellenic Museum and Cultural Centre joins the classic bakeries, energetic tavernas and reputable restaurants serving fresh tzatziki, flaming saganaki and gyros among other traditional eats.
Chicago’s Italian roots show prominently in Little Italy. Taylor Street houses most of the eateries like The Rosebud, Pompei and Francesca’s on Taylor.
Arrigo Park features a statue of Christopher Columbus, while Piazza DiMaggio is inspired by a traditional Italian piazza and features a statue of the Yankee Clipper (Joe DiMaggio) himself.
Characterised by the historical boulevards and large-scale greystone homes, Logan Square is a dynamic neighbourhood just west of Wicker Park/ Bucktown.
The area is a major link in Chicago’s Historical Boulevard System and at the centre of Logan Boulevard is the Illinois Centennial Monument.
The trendy neighbourhood has welcomed many great restaurants such as Lula Café and Fat Rice, as well as craft beer maker Revolution Brewing.
Lincoln Square and Ravenswood
Lincoln Square is a historically German area with many ethnic businesses such as the Chicago Brauhaus, Merz Apothecary and the Huettenbar. Giddings Plaza is a popular place for local events and festivals.
Ravenswood, an entity of Lincoln Square, features a number of great shops and eateries along Montrose Avenue including Fountainhead, a neighbourhood hot spot for craft beer and quality food.
Lillstreet Art Centre is the largest visual arts centre in Chicago and can also be found here.
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Expect mild temperatures, blooming flowers and bright greenery in spring. Summer brings warm weather, cooler near the lake, and beaches buzz with activity. Autumn is a colourful season, and December to February marks the winter season, filled with snow, sparkling lights and cold weather adventures.
From the airport
From Chicago O’Hare International airport, shuttles and taxis are available to downtown. Public transport can also get you into the city via the Chicago Transit Authority buses and rail lines. Alternatively, book a Private Arrival Transfer to take you straight to your hotel.
In and around the city
The city's grid system is easy to navigate and find your way either on foot or by public transport.
If you’re feeling energetic you can hire a bike from Bike and Roll or Bobby’s Bike Hike. With more than 320 kilometres of on road bike lanes, numerous dedicated paths and more than 13,000 bike racks, Chicago is one of the country’s bike friendliest cities.
129 bus routes crisscross Chicago making it easy to get about. Alternatively the well connected ‘L’ train has eight lines running around the city with more than 145 stations for quick and easy connections.
If you’re leaving central Chicago head for the high speed Metra train that connects with Chicago's outlying suburbs.
Interested in Chicago or want to see other destinations in the USA? Find out more about flights to USA.
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